Bobcats play way to top
THE Maclean Bobcats first division side continued their winning way with a 2-0 victory at Urunga on Sunday.
The win sees the side sitting comfortably atop the North Coast Football premiership table with an enviable record of four wins from as many games to start the season.
The scene was set for quality football with the local groundkeeper in line for some credit for serving up an excellent pitch. No credit, however, for the scheduler who inexplicably forced the Bobcats to undertake the competitions largest road trip on Mother’s Day.
In what has been a common theme this year, Urunga were up for their stoush with the champions early and dominated possession with some quality passing.
You don’t become champions without class of your own, however, and as they have done previously this season, the Bobcats weathered the early storm before asserting their dominance on the contest.
Midway through the first half, striker Fraser Robinson showed great persistence and poise to chase down a long ball and outmuscle a defender before finishing in style with a neat chip of the oncoming goalkeeper to hand Maclean a 1-0 lead.
After being well in the contest early, this appeared to take the wind out of the sails of Urunga and this would be compounded on the stroke of half time when Jarrod Doyle made it two. After calmly bringing down a cross at the far post, Doyle unleashed an unstoppable left-foot volley to give Maclean a handy 2-0 cushion at half time.
The second half failed to reach the heights of the first in terms of quality but the contest was certainly no less competitive. Ferocious tackling and yellow cards became the order of the day in what proved to be a great test of both sides’ hard-nut credentials.
As they say, you don’t win finals without a bit of mongrel and both teams should be steeled at the pointy end of the season after this fixture. There was, however, the odd moment of quality in the second half and both teams had their chances to add to the scoring but in the end the Bobcats would have been happy to leave the Cabbage Patch with a 2-0 victory and three precious premiership points in the bag.
Among the Bobcats’ best were midfielders Kevin Crofton and Travis Armstrong who worked hard in the engine room while defender Lance Knibbs again proved a constant menace for the opposition with his run from deep, overlapping on the left.
After the game Bobcats coach Grant Neilson was visibly pleased with result and where it puts his team on the table.
“Yeah it’s always tough coming here and they’re a very good side,” he said. “But full credit to our blokes, that’s three wins in eight days against quality sides. I couldn’t ask more of the boys than that”.
In the earlier game, the Bobcats’ Youth Grade side chalked up an impressive 4-2 victory over Urunga. In a great day for Maclean’s Allen boys, Mackenzie got on the score sheet with an impressive goal while his younger brother Riley, playing in goals, pulled off a wonderful penalty save which helped deliver the Bobcats a crucial victory. Other scorers were Grant Neilson, Tom Whalen and Reece Holden.